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Protesting Lake Asphalt workers 'lock in' execs

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

Local producer Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago (1978) Ltd was shut down yesterday, as workers demanded improved lines of communication with management.

The workers staged a protest outside the company's gates at La Brea, preventing executive members from exiting the compound.

Gerard Debisette, labour welfare officer, said workers were seeking an explanation about what was described as the sudden resignation of the company's chief executive officer, Deonarine Sarabjit.

"The CEO just resigned without an explanation. We want to know what is going on in the company. We are also curious as to why the company changed the supplier of hardboard, used to ship asphalt. The new supplier is costing the company almost $1 million more than the previous one," he claimed.

Debisette, who is also the Local Government representative for the area, said workers were prepared to protest until management agrees to meet them.

"We want answers. The workers have blocked the entrance to the company, so the chairman and a team touring the facility are unable to leave," he said.

Lake Asphalt is charged with the commercial development of the Pitch Lake of Trinidad and Tobago, the world's largest deposit of natural asphalt. The company has been involved in the mining, refining, manufacture and distribution of road-building material and other asphalt-related products.

Chairman of the company's board of directors Kuarlal Rampersad was not available to comment on the issue yesterday.

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